How to Start (or Get Back Into) Running

my top running essentials

In the last year I’ve gone from hardly being able to run a block to running 12-15 miles per week. I want to share some tips on how to start running. How to find the motivation to run, how to build up running endurance, and my top running essentials for success. 

Outfit Details: 
Pink Running Shorts (wearing size small)
Nike Athletic Tank
Similar Nike Sports Bra
Nike Pink Running Shoes

I’ve never been a strong runner, and never, ever enjoyed running. But last year I decided I wanted to start running, and today I want to help you learn how to start running. Or if it’s been a while, let’s talk about how to get back into running.

Keep reading to see my running tips that will help you start running when you’re out of shape, find motivation to run, build up your endurance, and run faster.

please note: I have no professional training, and am certainly not an expert. I’m just sharing what has worked for me and what I’ve learned from experts!

how to start running: A beginner's Guide to finding motivation, building endurance, and enjoying the process.
My favorite nike shoes for running. They're lightweight, supportive, and so comfortable.

How to find motivation to start running

This is going to look different for everyone because we all have different personalities.

It took me a long time to find long term motivation, but once I found something that worked it was like magic! You just have to keep trying things and see what works best for your personality. (It also might help to know more about your personality — I found Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies information so helpful).

I wrote an entire post about the three things that gave me motivation to start running RIGHT HERE

Some of these other ideas might help you find motivation:

  • Find a running partner. Having external accountability could help get you out of bed.
  • Re-arrange your schedule and find a consistent block of time to exercise. Mine is at 5:30am during the school year, and 6:30am during the summer. Having time to exercise and get ready before my boys wake up is super important for me.
  • Sign up for a race. It can be motivating to get out there and train with a race date looming ahead!
  • Set personal goals for yourself. I made a goal this year to run a distance of 5k at least once per week. It took me a few months to get there, but now I run at least 5k every time I run.
  • Set a reward for yourself. “If I run 3 times this week, I’ll reward myself with a manicure at a salon.” Or “I can have a dessert on Sunday night.” Or, “If I don’t miss a day of running all month, I’ll buy myself that dress I’ve been eyeing.” We’re just like dogs and kids — rewards work!
how to find motivation to start running

How to build endurance for running


Since I started running last August, I’ve run three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) every single week. I’ve only missed a handful of days. Endurance for running comes as you stay consistent!

Decide on your running days and then get out there and run even if you don’t feel like it. Even if your pace is slow. Even if you only go three blocks. Just do it! Your lungs and muscles will learn if you’re putting them to work every day, or every other day consistently!

Go as far as you can without stopping.

I did the Couch to 5K program a few years ago and their training method was to run for a couple of minutes, then walk for 30 seconds or a minute, repeat, repeat. I found that starting and stopping throughout my run was harder on my body and I couldn’t ever get into a good running rhythm. When I started running this time, I just ran as far as I could without stopping, and then did my cool down. My pace was slow, and my distance was low, but over time those both increased.

If you’re finding that you can’t go very far, slow your pace down so you can go farther. Build up your pace later. Increasing my distance first helped me build my endurance.

Take a Pre-workout supplement

I take these pre-workout supplements from WM Nutrition and they give me a little spike to help me work harder. They’re all natural and they actually taste pretty good!  I find that when I take them, my endurance is greater and my calorie burn is always higher.

I typically don’t eat anything before I workout because I go so early in the morning and I’m not ready to eat yet. But if you need something, I recommend a little apple sauce (like THESE PACKETS), or a piece of peanut butter toast.

Track your pace and distance

I use my Apple Watch to track my progress. It shows my distance and my pace, and although I don’t look back at my progress very often (although it’s fun to do every once in a while), I like being able to easily see and keep track of how far and how fast I’m running during my run. I’m constantly trying to get my pace number down and my distance number up!

Set small, reachable goals

When I first started running, my daily was to run as far as I couldn’t without stopping. I didn’t care about my pace or my distance, I just wanted to learn to get into a running rhythm.

After I did that for a few weeks, I set a goal to run an entire mile without stopping.

Once I reached that, I set a goal to run two miles without stopping. And then I went to three miles. And then I set a pace goal for my three mile run.

Start small and set manageable goals.

Be kind to yourself

I mentioned above that running with a partner might be motivating for some people. For me personally, I felt like in the beginning running by myself would be better because I would feel no pressure to go a certain pace or distance. I just did my best, and that was good enough.

Also, please note that being kind to yourself doesn’t necessarily mean being EASY on yourself. I still pushed myself as hard as I could every day. But recognize that some days will be harder than others (like the day after you ate birthday cake at 10pm), and it’s ok if you go slower on those days.


how to start running and increased your endurance
top running essentials

My top five running essentials for success

Good running shoes

A good pair of running shoes is a must if you’re going to start running. I fractured a bone in my foot a couple of years ago, so I’m always mindful of that foot and I make sure to have shoes that are supportive.

My very favorite pair are THESE NIKE RUNNING SHOES. They’re super lightweight, the upper is as soft and stretchy as a sock, and they’re very supportive.

shop the shoes

A pre-workout supplement

I mentioned this above, but it’s an essential for me! It give me a boost of energy before I start and helps me perform and my highest level. I take one every morning about 10 minutes before I start my workout.

Also, check their instagram because they always have discount codes available!



Good headphones

When you’re running, good headphones are a must. I have the iPhone X so it needs wireless headphones, and I’ve found that THESE EARBUDS FROM PLANTRONICS are my favorite. They’re comfortable, they stay in place, and they’re not bulky at all. Also they have a long battery life — I only have to charge them every two weeks!

shop the headphones


Interesting podcasts

Podcasts while running are my secret weapon!! I cannot listen to music while I run. It’s so boring for me and then I’m constantly focusing on how exhausted I am.

I shared my favorite podcasts to listen to while I workout in THIS POST, but since I wrote that post I’ve found a ton more. I’ll do another post with some updated favorites very soon!

see my favorite podcasts here


A running pouch for my phone

A lot of exercise pants/shorts have pockets in them now, but none of mine do so a running pouch to hold my phone is an essential for me.

I found this RUNNING POUCH on Amazon for $10 and it’s big enough to hold my phone and a spare key. It’s super thin so it doesn’t bounce around!

shop the running pouch

If you have any additional questions about running, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!
photos by priscilla frey


  1. I’ve been running on and off since high school. I ran track for four years and then took a 4 year baby break and then got back into it this year and did my first marathon! It was so hard, but so worth it! I’m now trying to work on speed and get my 5ks faster, but I find running so motivating because you can always try to do better than you did the day before!

    • Merrick says:

      Yes, I so agree! It’s so motivating to see little changes day after day. You’re a rockstar for doing a marathon!!

  2. parker says:

    I just got back from my morning run when I sat down and saw your post. Great Advice!!! I especially agree with running as far as you can and worrying about speed later and setting manageable goals. I think always having a goal keeps me motivated. Today’s goal was to beat yesterday’s time and tomorrow’s will be to increase my distance slightly. Thanks for the post!

  3. Carla says:

    Time to give it a go. Couch to 5k felt very tiring (stop/start) I like your advice and will give it a go. DO you run from home or drive to Different spots to run? (DId Variety make it easier for you?). I live out of town so to run somewhere is quite straight and long so i assume my cool down would be The walk back! Thanks for Sharing your experiences.

  4. Rachel says:

    How are uou managing to run with all the smoke outside? I really eanted to run this week since i havent been doing it for very long, and my lungs just couldnt take it!

    • Merrick says:

      We only had smoke coming our direction one time this week, thankfully. So sorry you’re being affected by the smoke and fire – so scary! Stay safe!!

  5. Caroline says:

    I remembered you wrote this post a while ago, and have reVisited it. I figured that if you have found time in your schedule with three children, i can find time in my schEdule to run just like you (and i don’t have any children!)

    I pray i can get into a running Routine like you and learn to love it!

  6. Emeli says:

    As my friend used to say, the hardest thing in the morning jog is to go outside. Thank you for your advice, I use similar methods when I try to enter running mode. Now I bought myself another simulator after reading the article best rated rowing machine reviews and after running I can work out.

  7. Emeli says:

    You’re right, starting something can be difficult. When I wanted to instill the habit of doing yoga, I also had to limit myself in many ways and force myself not to get off the right path. After my husband gave me a course of yoga training in Bali and it was the best gift made by him. When you find yourself in the right atmosphere, with coaches and a team that wants to achieve the goal, it is easier to deal with

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